Death Care Compliance Law

Death Care Compliance Law

Preneed: A Pandora's Box of Problems

William Stalter is the founder of Stalter Legal Services and the Preneed Resource Company. Bill focuses his law practice on preneed and death care compliance, serving banks, funeral homes, crematories, and cemeteries. He has written multiple published articles

Tag Archives: association

Death Care Trade Associations: Will New Blood Be Enough?

Posted in Associations
With the Dead Beat’s permission, we are sharing at a column they ran earlier this summer.  An anonymous contributor suggested that Death Care associations are headed for obsolescence. The author noted that attendance at Midwest conventions have dropped dramatically, and attributed this in part to a failure to adapt meetings and conventions to the needs… Continue Reading

Chasing Preneed’s Bad Apples

Posted in Associations, Exams/audits
In September of last year, the Columbus Dispatch published a story critical of the Ohio State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers.  Examining the Board’s efforts to address preneed fraud, the story reported that prosecutions of funeral directors were more the result of consumer complaints than Board inspections.  That must have struck a nerve with… Continue Reading

Trustee Investment Liability: The Preneed Purchaser Wild Card

Posted in Associations, Fiduciary, Investments
Back in March, the NPS Special Deputy Receiver won a judgement of $355 million against PNC Bank (as successor to Allegiant Bank).   In defense of Allegiant Bank, PNC argued that Missouri’s Chapter 436 defined the trustee’s duties as owed solely to the preneed seller.  That was the intent of the Missouri Funeral Directors Association when… Continue Reading

Missouri Funeral Trust: Seeking a Gag Order

Posted in Associations, Master Trusts, Missouri - SB1
On July 27th, a Missouri court will consider a motion filed by the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors to be dismissed from the lawsuit filed by the Missouri Funeral Trust.  One of the allegations made by the Missouri Funeral Trust was that confidential information obtained by a state auditor regarding the program’s weaknesses… Continue Reading

Association Master Trusts: De Facto Trustees

Posted in Compliance, Exams/audits, Fiduciary, Investments, Master Trusts
According to court filings, the reorganization plans for the Wisconsin Master Trust and California Master Trust each seek to eliminate ‘de facto trustee’ relationships that allowed the respective associations’ executives to ‘misuse, misspend, and mismanage millions of dollars’ of trust funds, and to direct funds towards inappropriate and unsuitable investments that served the association’s, rather… Continue Reading

The Wisconsin Master Trust: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Posted in Funeral, Master Trusts, Preneed
In a motion to convert the Wisconsin Master Trust from a preneed trust to a liquidating trust, the Receiver outlined to the court why the trust cannot keep its promises to consumers and comply with Wisconsin’s preneed law. Section 445.125 restricts preneed funeral trusts to depository accounts, and CD returns won’t even pay the Master… Continue Reading

Wisconsin Cemeteries: Who needs a fiduciary?

Posted in Cemeteries
Here is proof that readership of newspapers is going down. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel called a few weeks back about a Wisconsin legislative bill that sought investment freedom for cemetery trust funds.  With the legislative battle that was waged a year ago in Wisconsin, we had expected the bill might represent a renewed effort to… Continue Reading

Checks and Balances: Who has your back?

Posted in Administration, Fiduciary, Master Trusts, Preneed
In the days that followed the Wisconsin Funeral Directors Association being placed into receivership, some of the WFDA’s sister associations were quick to point out they had ‘checks and balances’ that would protect consumers’ funds from the problems that tripped up the Wisconsin Funeral Trust. As we reported in our last post, a crucial ‘check… Continue Reading

Wisconsin: Where is the Love?

Posted in Funeral, Master Trusts
When news of the Wisconsin receivership was made public, I anticipated some signs of support from other state associations. The strength of a professional relationship can be measured by the support given subsequent to a public indictment. But, when that support comes in the form of hackneyed advice, the accused is left to wonder about… Continue Reading

Pennsylvania: knocking down fences

Posted in Cremation, Funeral
Heritage is the term that the death care industry uses to describe the relationship each funeral home or cemetery attempts to forge with the community through years of service. Heritage reflects a commitment to the community, and through that commitment, the operator can expect the community’s business. Initially, the vast majority of funeral directors fought… Continue Reading

The Independent Preneed Trustee: In a Perfect World

Posted in Administration, Exams/audits, Master Trusts, Preneed, Recordkeeping
A breakdown in communications between the CFDA and the Cemetery and Funeral Bureau has resulted in the California Attorney General filing a lawsuit that can be appropriately described as vitriolic. The “California lawsuit” could provide some valuable ‘what to avoid” lessons for regulators in other states. In an unusual move, the Bureau went “public” last… Continue Reading

Will there be an Exhibitor’s hall?

Posted in Reform
Conventions and seminars provide trade associations and trade journals important sources of revenue. Accordingly, the death care industry has plenty of ‘retreat opportunities’ to choose from. However, there will be a death care convention held in Montgomery Alabama this weekend that will be off limits to funeral directors, cemeterians and their legions of industry vendors. Death care… Continue Reading

Trade Association Membership: weighing the costs vs. the benefits

Posted in Cemeteries, Funeral, Preneed
Mortuary Management’s July/August Colleague Wisdom column underscores how difficult it can be to run a trade association. I can empathize with the funeral home operators who took the time to provide their thoughts. As an attorney who specializes in the death care industry, I have to weigh the costs and benefits of membership in trade associations from… Continue Reading